As computers go, so does electronic pop. In the ’80s, electro-pop was this magnificent other (and if you’re Chad Valley, it! still! is!!!). As computers became more ubiquitous, electronic pop did as well; The Postal Service’s Give Up triggered pop culture’s awareness that electronic pop could be gentle. Now we’ve come all the way to The Shoes, whose song “Wastin’ Time” makes electronic pop sound downright organic by integrating it seamlessly into “real” sounds. And I do mean seamlessly.
The video, on the other hand, is a throwback to an era when film meant something. The cinematographic style, story, camera angles and immense attention to detail all point to a time before disposable YouTube vids. (It’s telling that this is hosted on Vimeo and not YouTube, but that’s another post.) The attention to craft and the perfection with which the visuals match the feel of the song make this music video my favorite of the year so far, barely edging out Brianna Gaither’s “Find You.” It’s a bit unfair competition, however: Director Yoann Lemoine‘s recent work also includes videos for Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
Be not fooled by …music video? Just like the name — really an unflashy one cased in unusual punctuation and capitalization — his music is solid white R&B cased in some psychedelic and digital touches. If This TV Could Talk opens with “No Things Happen for Reasons,” which has an indie-rock flair to it in some distorted guitar. But Paul Jenkins’ vocal style, the background vocals and rhythmic patterns positively scream R&B. “All I Really Know” drops the indie pretense except for some squelchy bass synth and just goes all R&B slow jam.
This is not said to be a knock: if …music video? were in the Brill Building business, these songs would be snapped up and all over the radio by now. The melodies, the mood and the groove are all there in this collection of tunes. “Not Worth Your Time” gets a little too into the R&B groove and borders on cliche in lyrics and instrumentation, but it’s forgivable. The stuttering standout “In Case We Catch Fire” can cancel it out, and we’re good to go.
If you’re down for some solid R&B, hit up …music video?’s If This TV Could Talk. Even if you’re not but you’re adventurous, you may try out “In Case We Catch Fire.” You’ll be surprised.
This DIY little video made me smile. Maniac is a pop duo from Australia and America, which is why this video exists the way it does. Observe.
I hope to get back to writing CD reviews shortly. I was at SXSW, and I had my batteries recharged for the whole “reviewing bands” thing because of a chance meeting with The Felix Culpa, who are just as awesome live as they are on CD. But now that I have my batteries recharged, I need to put the fingers to the keyboard and start writing again. The harder bit, of course.
Hoodie Allen has by now pretty much surpassed Chiddy Bang in my book as standard-bearer for the indie-rock sampling rap subgenre. Yes, Drake and Chiddy have higher profiles, but Hoodie Allen just does it better.
He just dropped a video for “You Are Not a Robot” off his mixtape “Pep Rally,” and it’s a pretty polarizing little video. Check the comments to see the effects its had on his listeners, which range from “U ROCK LOLZ FO REEL” to “What the fuck was that?”
It is a bit strange. It doesn’t exactly make sense, as a bunch of kids dressed as robots chase Hoodie under the auspices of catching him and presumably making him a robot. I won’t ruin what happens, but Wes Anderson is smiling somewhere, I think.
Worst comes to worst, you’re reminded of Hoodie Allen, and that’s never a bad thing.
Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.